1 Chronicles 12:32, “There were 200 captains of the sons of Issachar. They understood the times and had much understanding of what Israel should do.” In other words they understood the Bible Prophecies – They knew what God promised is going to fulfill.
Background of the passage
The account of the death of King Saul is described in 1st Chronicles chapter 10 and in chapter 11 David becomes king of Israel and Judah. David’s army gets larger in 1 Chronicles 12. This is the background of our Bible verse referenced above.
Many strong men came to David to support him in his new army. However, a special mention of very interesting words is said about the children of Issachar who pledged allegiance to David. It says, “they understood the times and had much understanding of what Israel should do.” The passage highlights their special insights in understanding the times and what Israel and they should do at a critical point in time.
I am well aware of the fact that this Bible verse has different interpretations among scholars. However, based on the immediate background and context of this verse, I want to bring home some spiritual lessons to your attention.
Not only children of Issachar but also many other strongmen joined David’s group per chapter 12. 12:23 says, “These are the numbers of the armies who came to David at Hebron. They came to turn the nation of Saul to him, as the Word of the Lord had said.” Means, they all came with one purpose to turn the nation of Saul to David based on the promise of God’s word (Bible Prophecies) regarding the kingship of David.
Additionally, 12:38 says, “ All these were men of war, ready for battle. They came to Hebron with one desire, to make David the king of all Israel…. They were there with David for three days, eating and drinking. For their brothers had made food ready for them. And their neighbors brought food, from as far as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali. They brought food on donkeys, camels, horses, and cattle. They brought many loaves of bread and figs, many dried grapes, wine, oil, cattle, and sheep. For there was joy in Israel.”
You see, they made this transition period from Saul to David a joyful time. They were motivated, enthusiastic and they all had one single goal in mind- to turn the nation to David. They spent few days (3 days) with David. They ate and drink because some men brought food on donkeys, camels, horses, and cattle. Plenty of bread, figs, dried grapes, wine, oil, cattle, and sheep. Why? The transition of kingship from Saul to David was filled with Joy in Israel. Why? Because God made this possible. God promised David will be next king and He fulfilled His promise in His determined time, though David and nation had to wait for a prolonged period of time.
1st Century Comparison
When I thought about this incident, I also thought about the first century time when the expectation and prophecies regarding Messiah hit the highest level than any time in the history and ultimately fulfilled literally. Contrary to what we have seen in Chronicles account, the religious leaders of Israel were blind to the truth and didn’t recognize the times and of course, they didn’t know what is the right thing to do when finally the Messiah appeared.
Is there a lesson here for us? I believe a big lesson is in front of us.
Jesus asked the crowds, especially the religious leaders of His day a thought-provoking question. Luke 12:54-56 says, “And He (Jesus) was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. “And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. “Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”
They knew how to interpret and apply the signs of the clouds and south winds. When a cloud rises in the west, immediately they said ‘a shower is coming’ and it happens. When a south wind blows, they said it is going to be a hot day and it happens. They knew how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. But they failed to interpret their present time in the first century based on God’s revelations already given in their Scripture.
What is that they failed to interpret? You see, the whole expectation and prophecies of the promised Messiah in the old testament scripture are fulfilled in the person of Christ. The promised and the long-expected Messiah is standing right in front of their eyes. They are looking at Him, the fulfillment of the Bible propecy of the promised Messiah and savior. But they missed the opportunity to interpret and analyze the season and times of God to recognize Him. Instead, in their hypocritical mindset, they completely lost sight of the season and times. What a tragedy it was! Let this not happens to us who live in this another big critical junction of the next divine season and time.
I know we won’t know the exact day or hour, but we can certainly analyze and interpret the time and seasons per Bible prophecies. Bible Prophecy
People in the past made false predictions of the rapture and tribulation times. No one is allowed to determine a date, day or exact hour of these future events. Bible says Father God fixed these dates in His own sole authority.
Mark 13:32-33 “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come”. In another occasion in Acts 1:6 the disciples asked Jesus just before His ascension into heaven this question. “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus said, “it is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” Then He said this is what you would meantime – you shall be my witness both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samara, and even to the remoted part of the earth.”
But we can interpret and analyze the seasons and times we live based on the Scriptural revelations given to us in the Bible. Children of Issachar knew the promise of God to David and they understood the time and what they and Israel should do in such a critical time period.
Jesus said we won’t know the exact appointed day or hour of the establishment of His kingdom and His second coming. The religious leaders of Christ’s time did not know the exact time day and hour of the first appearance of Messiah either. However, by their understanding and knowledge of the Scripture, they could have figured out and interpreted what was happening in their midst back then in the first century. Even Herod inquired chief priests and scribes where the Messiah was to be born and they informed him ‘Bethlehem of Judea”. Matthew 2:4. Herod tried to analyze and interpret the time and season.
You see, based on the revelations given in the Bible, we can interpret the season we live now and determine what we should do in the light of the prophecies we understand from the Bible. Understanding the exact day or hour won’t be possible because it is fixed by God’s authority, but a general understanding of the times and seasons and interpreting as such are possible, provided you know the Bible.
We have witnessed much more our first-century counterparts and children of Issachar, haven’t we? Bible Prophecy
We have seen much more fulfillment of the Bible prophecies in our lifetime, don’t we? We have seen the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem exactly like the prediction of Jesus, we have seen the re-establishment of the nation Israel in their own fathers land in May 1948 exactly like prophet Ezekiel prophesied. We have seen the destruction of the world empires – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and even Roman empire as prophesied in the book of Daniel chapter 2. We know the Roman empire was actually divided into different nations as we now see in Europe (per the fulfillment of Daniel 2 Prophecy). We know like clay and iron won’t mix together, these divided Roman Empire nations will try to join with one another. But they will not stay together any more than iron mixes with clay. These attempts of joining together of the nations in Europe are also witnessed by all of us right in front of our eyes. Daniel says, in the days of those kings (different European nations that came out of Roman Empire trying to join together again), God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And it will never be taken by another people. It will last forever. We know for sure, as explained in Daniel 2, this next world-wide kingdom will be the kingdom of the Son of God, Jesus Christ- the millennium called the thousand-year rule of Christ on this earth. You see, we have seen all these fulfillment of the Bible prophecies.
Read Daniel 2:44-45, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a nation which will never be destroyed. And it will never be taken by another people. It will crush and put an end to all these nations, but it will last forever. 45 You saw how a stone was cut out of the mountain by no human hands, and how it crushed the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has shown the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true. And I have given you its true meaning.”
What is our call and role at this critical time and season based on fulfilled Bible Propehcies?
After seeing all these literal fulfillment of the Bible prophecies in our lifetime, what are you doing now? Ae you lost your sight like the religious leaders in Jesus’s time? What is your agenda? Is your agenda connected and linked to God’s marvelous and wonderful agenda? If not, get to work without delay, be vigilant, alert and watchful. “Buy ointment or medicine to put on your eyes so you can see” (Revelation 3:18(d). Understand the times like children of Issachar did. More than just and mere knowledge or understanding, our passage above says they had much understanding of what they should do. They came out of their comfort zone and went all the way to Hebron to join the army of the newly and divinely appointed king, David and worked hard on his team to fulfill God’s agenda on this earth in their allotted lifetime.
My dear friend, you have a call to join the army of the Great Son of David – Jesus Christ – the Son of God, as He is getting ready to establish His Kingdom on this earth. What you will do or what responsibilities you will be assigned or awarded in His kingdom is based on what you do for Him now at the present time, in your allotted lifetime. He has given talents to His servants –five, two and one. When the master came back, he said to those servants who put their talents to work and gain more this – ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Master is going to give you charge and authority over many things if you used your talents wisely now. Is this going to be true for you when He comes back?
I sincerely hope so.
Children of Issachar along with many leaders in Israel knew the word of the Lord God that promised to David, “You will be the shepherd of My people Israel. And you will be king over My people Israel.” (1 Chronicles 11:2 (b). They understood the season of times and they knew the evil king Saul who tried to havoc David’s life is ended by the hands of the Lord Himself. Now they are ready for action, to place themselves in the army of the new king David to fulfill the plan and purpose of God.
You see, God had already made His decree about the future king and kingdom that is going to appear soon on the face of the earth. Dear ones, It is a done deal! Period! in the same way, God anointed David in the place of Saul many years before he actually inherited the throne. LORD God decreed His son’s, Christ’s kingdom a long time ago and the fulfillment of that decree and promise is around the corner as the world events and Bible Prophecies proves this unalterable and irrevocable promise going to fulfill.
Read His eternal decree in Psalm 2.
God says in Psalms 2, “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Now, therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, that He does not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
The religious leaders missed the first coming of Christ and let us not miss his appearance in glory in clouds for us called the rapture. Let us not miss His glorious second coming to establish the long-promised God’s kingdom on this earth when He will rule all the nations from the capital city of Jerusalem. You and I are going to be ruling with Him in that kingdom. Much more than, let us not miss our opportunities to serve Him in these last days so that we can do all we can to actively participate in His agenda for this time and ready for His appearances.